Passing of the Pioneers

Writing Passing of the Pioneers is becoming a longer process each month as I get drawn into the stories. I think it all began when I started searching for photos to compliment the obituaries, making the posts more visually appealing. That sometimes takes some extra searching and other information arises that is just too good to let pass.

For the January Passing Pioneers, there is Sarah McDonald one of those pioneering women I read about and think “Wow.” Also another member of the Laidlaw family, a Hamilton publican and a man who had the unenviable task of being called as a witness in a Casterton murder case.

David Wemyss GALLIE: Died 12 January 1868 at Portland. From the first reading of his obituary, David Gallie was simply the long-time bank manager of The Bank of Australasia in Portland. But digging up a bit more about him unearthed some interesting family links.

From the Australian Death Index at Ancestry I discovered David was the son of Hugh and Robina Gallie and was born around 1813. The earliest record I could find of him in Australia was again at Ancestry and the  New South Wales, Australia, Returns of the Colony, 1822-1857.  David was working as a clerk in the Surveyor General’s office.

In 1840, David’s sister, Anna Maria married Edward Henty of Portland at St James Church in Melbourne.

“Family Notices.” The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880) 14 Nov 1840: 2. Web. 27 Jan 2015 .

David Wemyss Gallie himself married in 1842 to Elizabeth Francis Gordon in Launceston.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Captain Donald McArthur.

Family Notices. (1842, June 9). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 - 1846), p. 3. Retrieved January 27, 2015, from

Family Notices. (1842, June 9). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 3. Retrieved January 27, 2015, from

Just for interests sake, I Googled the said Captain and found a great site called the Telford Family of Ellinbank. The site includes the McArthur family and from there I discovered Elizabeth’s mother. Elizabeth Wemyss. That name was familiar. Of course, Wemyss was David Gallie’s middle name.  What?  Yes, David was related to his new bride. In fact, David and Elizabeth were cousins with their mothers Elizabeth and Robina sisters.

At some point, David began working for the Bank of Australasia and in 1846, he and Elizabeth travelled to Portland on the Minverva accompanied by David’s brother-in-law Edward Henty. This was possibly the time David took up his position as the manager of Portland’s Bank of Australasia.

“Shipping Intelligence.” Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) 2 Jun 1846: 2. Web. 27 Jan 2015 .

The Minerva was owned by the Henty Brothers and Captain Fawthrop her master. The Henty’s used the schooner to transport goods and sheep between the two colonies.

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 24 Sep 1842: 1. Web. 5 Feb 2015 .

The funeral of David Gallie was well attended with “most of the principal gentlemen of the town and district” there to pay their respects. They included brother-in-law Edward Henty and his brother Stephen Henty.

“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 30 Jan 1868: 6 Edition: EVENINGS. Web. 24 Jan 2015 .

William FOSTER: Died 12 January 1896 at Branxholme. William Foster was not as old as the usual pioneers listed here, but his sudden death at thirty-three years of age made headlines around the country. On Sunday 12 January 1896 William, a carpenter by trade, attended his local Church of England along with his wife and elderly parents. During a hymn, William appeared to have fainted, but upon removing him from the church he died.

George BAXTER: Died 8 January 1900 at Hamilton. George Baxter has links to two different branches of my family tree. The first was his role as a witness in the murder of the Hunts of Casterton in 1860.  My ggg grandmother Mrs Margaret Diwell was also a witness in the trial.  George’s second link was via the Holmes family.  His daughter, Elizabeth Jane married William Tyers Holmes a brother of George Holmes, husband of my ggg aunt Julia Harman. Julia and Elizabeth both signed the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Petition at Casterton in 1891. For more information on George’s and his family, see the SW Pioneers site.

Adam TURNBULL: Died January 1905 at Coleraine. Adam Turnbull’s parents, Dr Adam Turnbull and Margaret Young travelled to Tasmania from Scotland in 1825 and Adam junior was born around 1827. In 1845, Adam’s father sent him to Victoria to oversee the purchase of the Mt Koroite and Dundas runs. Who accompanied him on that trip varies between the article below and Adam’s obituary but it was either William Young, Adam’s uncle or another member of the Young family, George.

“PASTORAL PIONEERS.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 17 Aug 1935: 4. Web. 25 Jan 2015 <;.

The company of Turnbull and Son’s also purchased the Winninburn run where Adam died in 1905. During his time in the district, Adam Turnbull jnr was the first president of the Shire of Wannon and was on the first committee of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Coleraine. His grandson, Sir Winton George Turnbull of the Country Party, was a member of the House of Representatives as the Federal member for the Wimmera.

Edward WHITE: Died 20 January 1910 at Coleraine. Edward was born around 1837 and arrived in South Australia from Ireland around 1851. In the early 1860s, he moved to Victoria when the family took up the Den Hills run near Coleraine. Edward served on the roads board and was a worthy athlete during his younger years. His wife predeceased him and they had one son. There is more information about the White family on the SW Pioneers site.

Thomas LAIDLAW: Died 12 January 1915 at  Macarthur. Thomas Laidlaw was born in Scotland in 1833 and arrived with his brother Robert to Victoria around 1851. He headed to Newlands Station near Harrow to work with his brother Walter Laidlaw,  a Passing of the Pioneers subject last month.  A description of Thomas’ arrival was in his obituary and that of this son Thomas Haliburton Laidlaw, a Passing Pioneer in September 2011.

“THE LATE MR. T. H. LAIDLAW.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 25 Sep 1941: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 5 Feb 2015 .

In 1857, Thomas married Grace McLeod of Wallan however Grace passed away in 1864 but not before five sons were born, including Thomas Haliburton. In 1868, Thomas married Christina Linton and they had a son and a daughter.   Thomas moved to South Australia to farm with his brother Robert before moving to Dunkeld and then Glenburnie at Macarthur. He then purchased South Wonwondah south of Horsham, living there for eighteen years before moving closer to Hamilton, residing at Glencairn.

Daniel Michael SCULLION: – Died 27 January 1915 at Hamilton. Daniel Scullion was born at Garvoc in 1868 to John Scullion and Janet McKeller. He appears to have ventured into the hotel business in his hometown as licensee of the Yallock Inn which he still owned at the time of his death.  By then, Daniel had been in Hamilton around ten years, first operating the Hamilton Inn and then the Caledonian Hotel that still exists today.  In 1909, Daniel moved to Horsham and took on the license of the Wimmera Hotel. Within a couple of years, he had returned to Hamilton, resuming as licensee at the Caledonian Hotel.

In 1914, Daniel’s sister, Lilias Scullion, a nursing sister, purchased one of Hamilton’s most well-known buildings, St. Ronans,  just up the hill from the Caledonian Hotel and previously owned by former Mayor David Laidlaw. Interestingly, the Victorian Heritage Database entry on St Ronans, a report prepared by the Southern Grampians Shire, does not list Sr. Scullion as a former owner. There is an interesting article about the opening of the Sr. Scullion’s hospital, and the work that was required to make that possible, on the following link –

“HAMILTON.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 2 May 1903: 27. Web. 25 Jan 2015 .

Daniel was a keen supporter of sport in Hamilton particularly the North Hamilton Football Club and donated many trophies to the club.

Margaret MEAGHER: Died January 1918 at Port Fairy. A colonist of fifty-eight years, Margaret Meagher arrived in Melbourne with her husband James Prior in 1859 aboard the Sarah Dixon. Originally from Tipperary, Ireland, the Priors moved to Port Fairy the following year and remained there until their deaths. James died around 1911 and when she died, Margaret had two sons and three daughters remaining. Margaret was buried at the Port Fairy cemetery.

John COGHLAN: Died 8 January 1918 at Garvoc.  John Coghlan was an early native of the Colony of Victoria, born at Eastern Hill, Melbourne around 1841. His father, William Coghlan was a landholder in Melbourne but sold his properties and moved to the Western District, taking up land at Port Fairy. The family next moved to Warrnambool, living at a property on the Merri River, and John’s father continued to farm. After his marriage to Miss Patton, John and his wife moved to Cooramook near Grassmere and then later on to Garvoc around 1878, purchasing the property Pine Hills  where he engaged in dairy farming. According to the obituary, John did not live as long as his parents. His father William lived to ninety-seven while his mother apparently lived to 107. John was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

“BREVITIES.” Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915) 5 Nov 1907: .

John PETTINGILL: Died 23 January 1923 at Yambuk. John Pettingill was born in Suffolk, England around 1843.  When he was nine, he travelled with his parents to Portland aboard the Eliza. John’s father first worked at Castlemaddie Station at Narrawong owned by Andrew Suter. Mr Suter moved to Yambuk Station and the Pettingill family went along.  When nearby St. Helens was surveyed around 1863, John and his father purchased 200 acres. John remained on that farm for the rest of  his life. Around 1870, John married a Port Fairy girl, Miss Bowyer who was still living at the time of John’s death along with five sons and four daughters.

James YOUNG: Died 6 January 1925 at Hamilton. James Young was born around 1851 in Scotland and arrived in Victoria as an infant. The Young family settled in Ballarat and James attended school there before farming at Tatyoon, west of Ballarat. He then joined his brothers in the Wimmera to work with them in their stock and station business. When a branch opened in Hamilton in 1888, James moved south to manage affairs. A successful businessman, James soon built up the trade, also moving into public office as a town councillor for a several years. In 1909, he served as Mayor and laid the foundation stone for Hamilton’s new Town Hall in Brown Street (below). Unfortunately, the front section of the Town Hall was demolished in the 1960s and a “modern” façade added.

HAMILTON'S SECOND TOWN HALL - Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H32492/2740

HAMILTON’S SECOND TOWN HALL – Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/2740

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James Young passed away at his home Ivanhoe in Chaucer Street, Hamilton.


IVANHOE, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of Google Maps

Sarah McDONALD: Died 25 January 1941 at Hamilton. Born about 1855 in Inverness, Scotland, Sarah McDonald was a true pioneering woman. She travelled to Tasmania as a child in 1857 with her family aboard the Persia. Unfortunately, her father and brother died during the voyage but after a short break in Tasmania, the family continued on to Portland.  Around 1877, while still a single woman, Sarah rode from Branxholme to Horsham, with an overnight stop, to buy 320 acres at Scotchman’s Creek (Telangatuk) at the land sales. It was in that district Sarah met Lachlan Cameron and they married in 1876. Lachlan passed away in 1901 and Sarah stayed on the farm for a further twelve years before moving to Hamilton.

Passing of the Pioneers

If you have read my last post, A Pleasant Distraction, you will understand why October Passing of the Pioneers just got in by the skin of its teeth. Thankfully I had the bones of the post done before “Hamilton Fever” took hold. This month there are the obituaries of a bricklayer, a Gaelic preacher, a disgraced crewman from the General Hewitt and a member of the Henty family.

David HUTTON: Died 9 October 1875 at Mount Rouse. David Hutton was born in Greenock, Scotland around 1809. He was an engineer by trade, and left Scotland in 1833 for Hobart to follow his brothers. One brother, William, saw opportunities in the new colony of Victoria, and David later followed, arriving at Portland in around 1844. He took out a lease on land at Mount Rouse and established Cheviot Hills.  David Hutton was a foundation member of the Mt. Rouse Board and served for seven years. A Presbyterian, he was one of those behind the building of a church at Penshurst. He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery with other members of his family.  Hutton street in Penshurst is named after David Hutton. Another obituary, published  in The Mercury of Hobart, has more on David’s story

Ewan McDONALD: Died 13 October 1891 at Warrion. Ewan McDonald was born around 1808 and first went to the Colac district when he settled on land at Dreeite around 1866. Ewan was a Presbyterian and at one time gave services at the Larpent Presbyterian Church in Gaelic.

John H. DUNN: Died 29 October 1914 at Hamilton. John Dunn was born in Geelong around 1860 and arrived in Hamilton, with his parents, two years later. Like his father, John was a bricklayer and together they built some of Hamilton’s larger buildings.  A search for Dunn’s bricklayers found a reference on the Victorian Heritage Database. The home mentioned, in the Church Hill area of Hamilton is well-known to me and was built by William Dunn, when John was still a baby. In later life, John was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites and the Methodist Church. He married Miss H. Luxton of Macarthur and they had nine children.

James DUNCAN: Died 8 October 1916 at Balmoral. James Duncan was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1837 and he arrived on the Flora McDonald to Portland in 1855. He went to Rocklands, near Balmoral, working as a shepherd. He left the district for Serpentine before returning to Glendinning station as overseer. He later took up the carpentry trade in Balmoral.  He married Emily Rogers in 1876 and they had six children.

Elizabeth LEAHY: Died 15 October 1916 at Cavendish. Elizabeth Leahy was born in Adelaide around 1849. Her family came to Victoria to the goldfields of Bendigo and Ballarat, before returning to South Australia, taking up residence at Mt. Gambier. Elizabeth later moved to Lake Bolac and met her future husband, J.H Wallis. They married at Ararat. The couple farmed in the Wimmera, moved back to Ararat before settling at Mooralla around 1910.

Samuel BROWNLAW: Died 13 October 1917 at Tyrendarra. Samuel Brownlaw and his wife, Mary Ann Speechly, arrived on the Severn to Portland in 1856. They first went to Yambuk, before settling at Tyrendarra were they remained. In 1875, Samuel donated land for the Tyrendarra School. Samuel left three sons and three daughters at the time of his death.

John Stevens ANDREW aka John FORSTER: Died 5 October 1918 at Merino Downs. I have touched upon the obituary of John Andrew/Forster before, in the post The General Hewitt. John’s obituary gave me some clues to the names of the crew members that caused unrest during the voyage and those that deserted. John was one of those crew members, explaining his alias. Unfortunately, his obituary speaks of nothing else but that voyage that hung over his head, even after death,

Christina McGREGOR: Died October 1925 at Hamilton. Christina McGregor was born in Inverness, Scotland around 1835. and arrived in Melbourne around 1847 on The Indian. Aboard the schooner The Wave, Christina travelled to Portland. Her next destination, on horseback, was to Satimer Estate near Casterton, owned by her uncle Alexander Davidson.  Station life must not have been proper for a young lady as Christina returned to Portland to attend the ladies school run by the Misses Allison. It was in Portland she met her future husband, Archibald McDonald, from Condah, where they remained for the rest of the lives.

Phillip Henry THEISINGER: Died October 1942 at Portland. Geelong native, Phillip Theisinger, moved to Portland as a small child and remained there for the rest of his life. He worked as a storeman and was a secretary of the Portland Waterside Worker’s Union. Phillip was also a member of the Portland Citizen’s Band for forty-five years and was a member of the Portland Masonic Lodge. He married Sarah Ann Surrey and they had twelve children, but only three still survived at the time of Phillip’s death.

Henry COWLAND:  Died 21 October 1942 at Heywood. Henry Cowland was born in Brixton around 1847. He arrived with his parent to Portland aboard the Severn in 1856. He attended the Butler’s School in Portland until he was twelve and then he obtained work as a contractor at Sandford. He also worked as a fencer and a carrier, carting sleepers for the railway line between Hamilton and Portland.

HENRY COWLAND.  OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from

HENRY COWLAND. OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from

Annie DAWKINS: Died 2 October 1942 at Hamilton. Annie Dawkins was born at Glencoe, South Australia around 1866 and travelled to Victoria as a girl with her parents and they settled near Condah. Annie married Henry Dyer Rundell at Condah in 1890. She was a supporter of the Red Cross and did her bit during the two World Wars. She left a family of five children,

Agnes Cecil HENTY: Died 30 October 1945 at Nelson, New Zealand. Agnes Cecil Henty was the 6th daughter of Stephen and Jane Henty and she was born at Portland in 1850. In 1877, she married Edward Stafford Coster in New Zealand and they resided at Canterbury on the South island. Twenty-five years later Agnes and family moved to Nelson and she remained there until her death aged ninety-five.

Robert Henry HOLLIS:  Died October 1946 at Portland. Robert Hollis was born in Tarragal around 1863. His parents moved to Gorae when Robert’s father began work as a stockman for the Henty’s. After some time working as a butcher, Robert turned to farming and at the time of his death he “had a fine dairy farm and orchard property”.

Mystery Photos

Isn’t  it frustrating when you find old family photos but don’t who the subjects are?  Not long ago Mum found some photos of Nana’s we didn’t know she had. We don’t know who the people are and we have no one to ask.

I was recently contacted by Catherine Simmins, who has family links to the Western District.  She is facing the same dilemma with some photos passed on to her family some time ago.  Some were identifiable but others remain a mystery.

Catherine asked me if I could post the photos in the hope someone may recognise the subjects.  Alternatively,  if anyone is better at dating photos than myself, help in that area would also be appreciated.



Also from Meek’s




The following three photos go together.







The Family

Catherine’s family from the Western District included the family names THOMAS, McPHERSON, JONES and McDONALD.

Alfred Charles THOMAS (Catherines great-grandfather) was the son of  William THOMAS and Hannah JONES.  He was born in 1869 at Hamilton.  Alfred married Sarah Ann McPHERSON, the daughter of Angus McPHERSON and Christina McDONALD.

Alfred and Sarah had a large family of 11  children.

Alfred’s obituary lists the names of their children, their married names and locations.

Obituary. (1937, August 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from

Sarah’s obituary:

OBITUARY. (1940, February 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from

Of course, there is a good chance that the photos are not of this branch of the THOMAS family but have some link.   Catherine has offered a suggestion as to who the family in Photos 3, 4 and 5 could be.

Sarah Ann McPHERSON’s sister, Margaret Jessie McPHERSON married Donald McBEAN in 1891.  They had five known children:

Jessie Christina Jane born 1891 at Hamilton married Arch. NAISMITH

Alexander Angus born 1895 at Hamilton

Mary Monivae born 1900 at Hamilton

Margaret Murial born 1903 at Hamilton married Alfred BONE

Dorothy Jean born 1913 at Portland

This is the Family Notice for Donald McBean:

Family Notices. (1930, March 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from

I think Catherine’s hunch could prove correct given the number of children, their sex and the age differences in the children.  If that is baby Dorothy McBean, the  family photo could be from around 1914.

**My interest piqued when I saw the name Mary Monivae.  Monivae, my former secondary school in Hamilton, named after the Monivae homestead, the school’s first site during the 1950s, was formally owned by Acheson Ffrench and James Thomson.  I wonder if Donald McBean worked at the property or they simply liked the name. I’ll save that one for later!

The Photographer

James Meek, tobacconist and photographer of Gray Street Hamilton took Photos 1 and 2.  The earliest reference I can find of Meek in Hamilton was 1884 when he played a role in the investigations of a well-known murder case of the time “The Pierrepoint Murders”.  Pierrepoint is just out of Hamilton and Meek took a photograph of the murder victim to help with the identification process.  Interestingly a member of my Bishop family found his way into one of the witness statements.

Meek also spent some time in Portland in the mid 1890s

Established August 1842. (1896, February 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from

James Meek appears to have had a studio at Clunes during the early 1900s,  but I have also found references of him in Hamilton up until 1920.  There are a number of  photographs taken by James Meek at Trove

If you think you can help Catherine name the subjects in these wonderful photos, please leave a comment.  It would be much appreciated.

Passing of the Pioneers

I enjoy finding stories of pioneer women, as they give me some idea of the lives lived by my own pioneering female ancestors.  March Passing of the Pioneers introduces a plucky pioneer, Elizabeth Cole.  Elizabeth and another pioneer, Annie Alexander both made their mark in roles not traditionally considered the domain of women. Among the passing gentleman, I enjoyed the story of John McClounan, a well-travelled pioneer.

Mr John Lang CURRIE: Died 11 March 1898 at St Kilda. John Currie was a Western District pastoralist. He was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland in 1818 and came to Australia in the 1840s and purchased Larra Estate near Camperdown in 1844.  He later bought Tintanga and Gala Estates. He bred merino sheep known for the high quality of their wool.  For more information, his biography is on the Australian Directory of Biography site.

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1898, March 12). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

John McCLOUNAN: Died 2 March 1902 at Green Lake. John McClounan was born in Scotland in 1832 but left when he was twenty-one.  But not straight to Australia.  He first travelled to America where he spent seven years and then on to New Zealand for around six years.  He and his brother, his travelling companion, then moved to the goldfields of N.S.W. and then to Victoria and Deep Lead near Stawell.  They gave up on mining and moved to Green Lake to farm.  It was on this property John died, forty years later.  He was unmarried.

Isabella SPALDING:  Died March 1907 at Warrnambool. Isabella Spalding was “another pioneer “Mother of Israel”” lost to the Western District.  Aged ninety-one, her husband, James Davidson had died forty-six years before and according to the obituary, she “trained up five sons and four daughters to man and womanhood”

John Henry OLIVER:  Died 23 March 1909 at Horsham. John Oliver was the brother-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman. The obituary states John arrived in Melbourne with his family in 1848. It was in fact 1849 aboard the Courier.  John had spent time around Byaduk where his family settled, however, he bought land at Sailors Home near Dimboola in the early 1870s.  After a stroke, John did return to Byaduk trying to regain his health, but he eventually returned to the Wimmera to live out his last months.

William Snaith WARD: Died 14 March 1913 at Ballarat. On arrival at Geelong in 1857, William Ward headed straight for the goldfields of Ballarat. He mined the “Hit and Miss” shaft at Creswick before taking time of mining to run the coach on the Ballarat-Buninyong Road. The lure of gold was too great and he headed to the goldfields of N.S.W. and one time drilled for coal in Gippsland.

Margaret CAMPBELL: Died 10 March 1914 at Casterton. Margaret arrived at Portland with her parents in 1855 after sailing aboard the Athletae.  She married Donald Ross in 1857 when she was around twenty-six.  They moved to Hamilton, then Sandford before settling in Casterton on the corner of Jackson and Clarkes Street in the house both Margaret and Donald died about fifty years later.

James FERGUSON: Died March 1914 at Beulah. Scottish born James was one of the early settlers at Beulah and was known around the town as “The Laird”. He was one of the first representatives of the newly formed Karkarooc Shire in 1896.  In 1908, he travelled to England and visited the place of his birth in Scotland.

Dugald MAIN:  Died 9 March 1916 at Ballarat. Dugald arrived in Geelong aboard the Star of the East in 1854 and then settled in Ballarat.  He was a builder by trade and sat on the committee of the Ballarat Orphan Asylum.

Alexander McKAY:  March 1919 at Carlton. Alexander, formerly of Mortlake, was a Scot through and through and was a keen participant in Highland games throughout the district. He was an excellent player of the pipes and excelled at the heavy lifting events of the games, such as the caber toss.

Edmond DWYER:  Died 14 March 1930 at Condah. Edmond at ninety-two was the last of the pioneers to arrive on the General Hewitt in 1856. He initially went in search of gold near Beaufort at the Fiery Creek diggings, before turning to road contracting at Portland. He worked the road from Portland to Hamilton for many years.

Mary McDONALD:  Died 4 March 1932 at Hotspur. Mary McDonald was a very old pioneer when she passed away in 1932.  She was born in the Isle of Skye in 1838 and was a teenager when she arrived at Portland with her parents in 1853 aboard the New Zealand.  She married Archibald McLean in 1862 and they settled at Hotspur and raised eight children.

Mary Jane JONES:  Died March 1932 at Portland. Mary Jane Jones was born in Portland in 1859.  She first married a Mr Jennings and they had two sons before she married Alfred Fredericks.  They had a further six children.

Martha RIGBY:  Died 11 March 1934 at Hamilton. Born in Lancashire, Mrs Jackson arrived at Portland with her parents, John and Sarah Rigby, in 1859. They settled at Heywood where she married John Jackson.  They later moved to Hamilton.  Mrs Jackson left a large family of ten children, thirty-two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren (this was reported as seven great-great-grandchildren, so they either forgot the great-grandchildren or it was meant to read great-grandchildren).

Emma HOLMES:  Died March 1935 at Drik Drik.  Emma was a knitter.  She knitted during the Great War for the troops and later for the Methodist Babies Home at South Yarra.  Emma arrived at Portland as a seven-year-old in 1852.  She married William Mullins and they settled at Drik Drik, with Emma considered to be the first white woman to settle there.  Surely a tough time for a new bride.

Annie Gray ALEXANDER: Died 14  March 1937 at Toorak.  Annie Alexander was born near Beechworth around 1861.  She married Henry William Witton in the early 1880s.  They took up residence at Dimboola in the 1890s.  After Henry’s death, Annie did something a little different to some of the pioneer women I have written of before. She published the Dimboola Banner newspaper until 1918.

Maria Jane TAYLOR:  Died 20 March 1939 at Portland. Maria Taylor was an active member of the Myamyn community even up until months before her death at aged ninety.  She was born at South Portland and later married John Treloar at Myamyn where they lived out their lives.  Mrs Treloar had a large family of thirteen, eight of whom were still living at the time of her death.

Elizabeth COLE: Died March 1942 at Bostocks Creek. What a great pioneer Elizabeth Cole was. Born at Poplar, London in 1845, she came to Australia with her parents in the early 1850s.  She married Alexander Dalziel at Lethbridge in 1862.  At the time of her death, Elizabeth and Alexander had 120 descendants including sixty-five great-grandchildren.  What got me about Elizabeth was she was that she had been a bullock driver and one with great skill.  She also had memories of Eureka, could recall Lethbridge as a canvas town and the slab huts of Port Fairy and considered kangaroo a delicacy.  In her later years, she enjoyed listening to that modern contraption, the wireless.

PIONEER DIES IN 97th YEAR. (1942, March 17). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

Mary MURRAY:  Died 17 March 1944 at Hamilton. Mary’s father was an overseer for Edward Henty at Muntham where she was born.  At the time, she was the first white child born at Muntham.  At some time, she married Mr Hallam and had many great pioneering stories.

Jean EDGAR:  Died March 1947 at Harrow. Jean was another wonderful pioneer who had been in Victoria for ninety years.  She arrived aboard the Severn which carried another great pioneer, the thoroughbred King Alfred, one of Australia’s early champion sires.

OBITUARY. (1947, March 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

In 1874 she married into the pioneering Minogue family at Harrow where she lived for the rest of her life.

Passing of the Pioneers

Once again an interesting band of Western Victorian pioneers were found in newspaper obituaries from February.  There is a tightrope walker, philanthropist, a motor car pioneer and several hardy pioneer women.  It continues to amaze me the lives the pioneers lived.  I mean, who could imagine a tightrope walker living in Portland in the 19th century, in fact at anytime!

Thomas STODDART: Died 20 February 1905 at Ballarat. When next in Ballarat admiring the many statues in Sturt Street and the Botanical Gardens, thank Thomas Stoddart. He was responsible for getting the ball rolling for leading Ballarat identities to give statues or money towards statues, to the city. From digger to stockbroker, Stoddart donated twelve statues to the city of Ballarat in 1884 after a trip to Europe. This act of philanthropy saw some of Ballarat’s other wealthy citizens bequeath money to fund more statues.  In fact, John Permewan who featured in December Passing of the Pioneers donated the well know “Hebe” which stands in Sturt Street.  As well as the obituary from the Horsham Times a lengthier obituary appeared in The Argus on February 21.



John COFFEY:  Died 9 February 1908 at Melbourne. John Coffey was born in Limerick, Ireland and came to Australia with his brother in the 1860s. He first went to the Wimmera while carting between Melbourne and the Wimmera. Making a permanent home there, he worked as a farmer and a hotel keeper.  He left a wife, Catherine Almond, five daughters and three sons.

Thomas HENNESSY: Died 19 February 1908 at Horsham. Thomas Hennessy arrived in Victoria in 1859 aboard the Royal Charter from Limerick, Ireland. He began farming around Koroit, lost a leg, and moved to the Pimpinio district where he farmed for many years.  An accident prior to his death contributed to his demise.

James DAVIDSON: Died 12 February 1913 at Narrawong. James Davidson, born at Narrawong, was described as a “good all-round citizen” in his obituary. He was involved in the mounted rifles and athletics.

Matilda GILCHRIST: Died 14 February 1914 at Hawthorn.  Born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1920 she arrived on the Star of the East in 1855.  Her husband Thomas Lang was a well-known horticulturist in the late 19th century.  Matilda was a principal of a girls’ school in Ballarat for a time.

Mary Ann DREW: Died 15 February 1915 at Willaura.  Born in Buckinghamshire, England,  Mary Ann Drew came to Victoria in her twenties during the 1850s. She worked at Golf Hill Station at Shelford for George Russell, before moving to Sandford where she married William Lindon. Mary Ann lived at Willaura with her daughter for the last ten years of her life.

Edward Harewood  LASCELLES: Died 12 February 1917 at Geelong. Lascelles is a well-known name in WesternVictoria.  Not only does his name form part of the Geelong wool broking firm Denneys Lascelles & Co, the town of Lascelles in the Mallee was named after him.  Edward Lascelles was born in Tasmania in 1847, married Ethel Denney and they had six children.  He was a leader in vermin extermination on his property in the Mallee and was the first to introduce share farming in Victoria.

Isabella McDONALD: Died February 1918 at Dandenong. Isabella McDonald arrived in Victoria with her widowed mother in 1863. The following year she married journalist, Mr Dudeney, who had gone to Ballarat to report on the Eureka Stockade riots. Only after a few years of marriage, Mr Dudeney passed away and she married John Whitehead a worker at the Ballarat Post Office and later the GPO in Melbourne

Martha MATHEWS: Died 14 February 1918 at Buninyong. Martha Mathews was a colonist of 64 years, arriving in Victoria to join her husband, Richard Phillips on the goldfields of Ballarat. Martha enjoyed telling stories of the goldrush days.

OBITUARY. (1918, February 18). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from

Janet SIMPSON: Died 19 February 1920 at  Bondi, New South Wales.  Janet Simpson, her husband Robert Clark and four children sailed for Australia in 1857. One child, Agnes died during the journey. At the time of their arrival, the train line to Horsham was under construction, so the family took a coach to Stawell, then bullock wagon to Horsham.  She was one of the many pioneer women who coped under tough conditions.

Obituary. (1920, February 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from

William HANLON: Died 19 February 1923 at Portland. William Hanlon was the mayor of Portland 11 times.  His interests within the municipality included President of the Portland Free Library.

William ROBERTSON: Died 2 February 1924 at Portland.  A colonist of seventy-seven years, William Robertson arrived in Portland as a five-year old with his parents.  He had travelled to New Guinea and Western Australia as well one time riding in the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine.

Charles Francis PATTERSON: Died 17 February 1933 at Portland. Charles was born in Portland in 1857 and spent some time in Western Australia on the railways.  It was there he met his future wife and after marriage, they returned to Portland to raise ten children.  Charles was a popular figure around the town and he worked in the fish distribution business.

Alfred Irvine HOGAN: Died 8 February 1934 at Portland. From tightrope walker to sawmiller, Alfred Hogan was an interesting chap.  Arriving in Portland as a young man, he gained notoriety as a tightrope walker performing daredevil tricks in the mould of “Blondin” the French tightrope walker.  Age must have caught up with his tightrope walking feats and he turned to sawmilling, with his obituary crediting him as a pioneer of sawmilling in the Portland district, an industry which became one of the biggest in the area.  Alfred also had a keen interest in Australian Rules football and was one of the people behind the development of Hanlon Park, which is still home to the Portland Football Club today.

Mary Jane SPIKEN:  Died February 1934 at Warrnambool. Mary Jane Spiken’s mother Anna Harland arrived in Victoria with members of the Henty family.  Anna married John George Spiken with Mary Jane born around 1861 at the Henty homestead.  Mary Jane married William Jenkins and they had seven children.  She was a wealth of knowledge on the early days of Portland.

Fanny Ann MALSEED: Died 13 February 1936 at Myamyn. Fanny Ann was the daughter of James and Eliza Malseed of Mount Richmond.  She married Thomas Edmund Adamson around 1886 and they raised eight children.

Richard YOUNG: Died 16 February 1939 at Horsham. Richard was born at Clunes and moved to Horsham with his parents as a ten-year-old. He married Isabella Anderson and they raised a large family. Richard was a keen footballer and  played for United Traders football club.  He was a founding member of the Horsham Football Club and was an active member of the local fire brigade.

Walter Birmingham EDGAR: Died 22 February 1939 at Portland. Walter Edgar was born at Pine Hills Station at Harrow in 1856.  Educated at Hamilton College, he achieved the double honor of dux of the college and athletic champion.  Despite studying civil engineering  at Melbourne University, he returned to Pine Hills to take up agriculture pursuits.  In 1882, he married Jessie Swan of Konongwootong.  In the years before his death, Walter toured England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden with his daughter.  In his younger days, Walter was something of a cricketer and golfer.  He and his father played some part in the Aboriginal cricket team touring England in 1867.  The team included Johnny Mullagh who Walter often played cricket with.

Obituary. (1939, February 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from

Ann NIVEN: Died 24 February 1942 at Coleraine. Ann Niven’s came to Australia at five, but without her parents.  They arrived at a later date, but until then Ann was under the guardianship of Mr and Mrs Christorphen.  They lived where Balmoral now stands, but then it was only bush.  She married William Bird, living at Wombelano and then for the last thirty-two years of her life, at Coleraine.  Mrs Bird was the mother of eleven children.

Patrick HENRY: Died February 1942 at Terang. Patrick Henry, with his parents, settled in the Woodford area upon their arrival in Australia in 1866.  He began driving bullock wagons as a teenager and worked in that occupation until he was eighty-six.  When he finally retired, it was thought he was the oldest bullock wagon driver in the Western District.

Thomas Turner SHAW:  Died 1 February 1949 at Beaumaris. Thomas Shaw was the son of Thomas and Catherine Shaw. He was born in Victoria in 1864.

THOMAS TURNER SHAW c1866.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H2013.172/23

THOMAS TURNER SHAW c1866. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.172/23

Thomas Shaw was a not only a pioneer of fine merino wool production but also motoring in Victoria.  He drove one of the first steam cars and was also a founding member of the Royal Auto Club (RACV).

Passing of the Pioneers

Seventeen more obituaries of Western District pioneers join the collection this month, and what a group they are.  I must say I had to pass a lot over, but it will ensure Passing with the Pioneers will be going to at least January 2014!  New papers at Trove has guaranteed that. Obituaries came from the Portland Guardian, Horsham Times and Ballarat Courier.

There are a couple of special ones, those of  James HENTY and Rebecca KITTSON and I highly recommend that you read the obituary in full.  I actually found Rebecca’s obituary rather moving and after driving through the Bridgewater area recently, I have great respect for her family and others that settled there.  To read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name and the obituary will open in a new tab.  Some are a little hard to read, but magnifying the page helps.

I have also included a “young” pioneer who has a family link to me.  Thank you to Rachael Boatwright for allowing me to include a photo of her family member.

James HENTY: – Died 12 January 1882 at Richmond.  I thought trashy magazines today told all, but the obituary of the Honourable James HENTY M.L.C. shared every detail of the last twenty-four hours or so his life.  How can I possibly give a summary of the life of James HENTY, one of the famous pioneering HENTY clan?  Instead, read the obituary, it is great!  Sadly I think James’ life may have ended prematurely, if that is possible at eighty-two, due to a collision with a Newfoundland dog the week before.

JAMES HENTY c1855.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H83.158/2

JAMES HENTY c1855. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.158/2

Hugh MCDONALD: Died 30 January 1899 at Portland. This is a timely obituary coming so soon after my Portland trip.  While there, I learnt something of the wreck of the steamer Admella in 1859 and the Portland life boat crew that went to her aid. Hugh McDONALD was one of the brave men on board the life boat during that daring rescue.

William GARDINER: Died 17 January 1904 at Warracknabeal.  William GARDINER, another pioneer with an interesting life.  He arrived in Victoria in 1849 aboard the barque Saxon and spent time in Melbourne, Geelong and the goldfields, before heading to New Zealand.  On his return to Australia, he lived in Port Fairy and Hamilton, working as a journalist, before moving to the Wimmera as a correspondent for the Belfast Gazette.  He like it so much, he decided to select land at Warracknabeal.  He also worked as a correspondent for the Horsham Times and built houses!

Jean McCLINTOCK:  Died 19 January 1904 at Melbourne. While only forty at the time of her death and not an “old pioneer”, I have included Jean as she was the sister-in-law of  Alfred Winslow HARMAN.  Jean married William MILLER and they resided at Rupanyup.  After some illness, Jean travelled to Melbourne for an operation, but she died as a result.

Jean McClintock & William Eaton Miller. Photo courtesy of Rachael Boatwright & family.

Joseph JELBART: Died 17 January 1904 at Carapook. Joseph worked as the mail contractor between Carapook and Casterton up until his death. Prior to that, he had worked as a blacksmith and a wheelwright at Chetwynd, Merino and Natimuk. Interesting coincidence, just as Joseph did, his father and brother both died on a Sunday morning in the same house.

Rachel Forward READ: Died 15 January 1904 at Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel Forward READ and her husband Richard Charlton HEDDITCH arrived in Adelaide in 1838 and settled at Cape Bridgewater from 1845 after a stint teaching at the Portland Church of England school.  They resided at the Lal Lal Homestead.  The  Victorian Heritage Database listing for Lal Lal includes a letter home by Rachel after their arrival at Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel was buried at the Cape Bridgewater cemetery rather than the Hedditch family cemetery at Lal Lal.

Donald McRAE: Died 12 January 1914 at Tooan.  Donald McRAE was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1842 and travelled with his parents to Portland. In 1865, he moved to Muntham near Hamilton to farm with brother. The pair eventually selected 320 acres of land each at Natimuk.  Donald was a member of the Horsham Caledonian Society.

Samuel WALKER: Died 24 January 1914 at  Ballarat. Samuel WALKER was born in Cheshire, England around 1828 and travelled to Australia in 1852.  After his arrival on the goldfields of Ballarat, he set up a soda water factory which proved profitable for him.  He then became a partner in Evans and Walkers and worked as an accountant.  He was also the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Ballarat from 1872.

Selina MILLER: Died January 1917 at Wickliffe. Selina MILLER had resided at Wickliffe for almost sixty years.  She was twice married.  Her first husband was Mr HAIG and her second, George HARRIOTT.

Elizabeth HUBBARD: Died 3 January 1919 at Horsham.  Elizabeth HUBBARD was born in Norwich, England around 1831 and travelled to Australia with her husband, Mathias HARDINGHAM in the mid-1850s.  From Geelong, they travelled to the Horsham area and were two of the first pioneers in that district.  Mathias ran the Horsham Hotel for some time.

Christina FOX: Died 8 January 1921 at Vectis.  Christine FOX was born in Yorkshire, England around 1835.  As a teenager, she travelled to South Australia with her parents.  She married Robert SANDERS who had also travelled with his parents on the same immigrant ship.

John W. DAVIS: Died 24 January 1928 at Horsham.  John or “Jack” as he was known, arrived in Australia as a three old, living in Williamstown and then Stawell.  He played with the Temperance Union Band in Stawell and then moved to Horsham in 1877 to play with one of two brass bands in the town.  Known throughout the northwest for his ability as an euphonium player, Jack was also a bandmaster at Natimuk and Noradjuha.

Rebecca KITTSON: Died 4 January 1929 at Portland. What a grand old pioneer Rebecca KITTSON was.  A colonist of eighty-eight years, she was a month from her 102nd birthday.  Arriving in Melbourne from Ireland aged eleven, she spent the next year in Melbourne, before joining her family at Cape Bridgewater where her father James Kittson had settled.  She married Reverend William LIGHTBODY, a Wesleyan minister in 1852.  This obituary is a must read.  Mrs LIGHTBODY, as she was known for most of her life, was the last surviving member of her family and the obituary gives a glimpse at how the KITTSON’S came to be in Australia.

Obituary. (1929, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from

Adrian ANDERSON: Died 16 January 1932 at Horsham. This is a first for Passing of the Pioneers.  Adrian ANDERSON was an immigrant from the United States. Wisconsin to be precise. He arrived aged four, with his parents and resided in Western Australia until he was ten.  The family moved to Victoria, where he remained.  He ran a shop in Jeparit before his death in the Horsham Base Hospital.

Agnes Sarah COOK: Died 18 January 1942 at Casterton. This obituary begins “Born in a small house on the banks of the  Glenelg River at Casterton seventy-nine years ago…”.  Agnes was a lady that like the past and the future, knowledgeable about the history of Casterton, she also liked to predict the future.  Agnes married  Robert SYLVESTER and they had four children.

Helen GULL: Died 18 January 1942 at Casterton. Helen was born on the ship Helen during her parents’ voyage to Australia in 1852.  The GULL family became respected pioneers throughout the Western District.  Helen married Frederick PERRY in 1876 and they resided at well known Western District properties, Rifle Downs at Digby and Runnymeade at Sandford.  Frederick later ran the Digby Hotel.